My weekdays and Saturdays are usually booked with back-to-back client appointments, office work, and personal errands so when Sundays come around I like to have no agenda. My Sundays are spent sleeping in, watching Netflix, hanging out with my family at home, reading a good book, and sometimes it's spent just doing nothing! But can I be honest? I also like to clean my house on Sundays. This sounds like a chore to many but it's actually therapeutic for me! When it's time to clean, I love to open all the windows in my house and let the fresh air. I'll also blast my music loud and usually, it's to Earth, Wind & Fire Radio on Spotify (you can find the playlist here if you're interested) There is nothing like being in your home, your sanctuary, and creating an ambiance that will mentally and emotionally smooth your soul.
Check out the below playlists on Spotify that will have you floating on Cloud 9 and let me know which playlist you're digging :)
You Gotta Be
The Voices of Sweet Jamaica
This Lil' Game We Play
There is nothing like good music to motivate you while you work. I remember once working for a business that was so silent (almost as if working at the library), which had an effect on the employees, including our patrons. Me being who I am; had suggested they add a radio to the front desk and recommended playing funk/soul music. Immediately, the once stuffy and uptight workplace was now buzzing with energy.
Studies have shown that certain types of music can be beneficial to us while we work. For example, some genres of music seem to help us with learning and improve our ability to process information while others help us block out distracting background noise. This week I'm sharing 4 types of music that are known to dramatically improve productivity in the workplace.
1. Classical music
You probably know this already but researchers have claimed that listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. This theory, known as “the Mozart Effect,” suggests that listening to classical music can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being. The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to be a distraction when you’re trying to focus. This genre of music is known for being calming, relaxing and helping reduce stress.
2. Nature music
Listening to the sounds of nature like waves crashing or rainfall have been shown to enhance cognitive function and concentration. They also work best when they’re soothing sounds. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered that natural sounds boost moods and focus. The study found employees were more productive and had more positive feelings when nature sounds were playing in the background while they worked. This may be because nature sounds helped mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing.
3. Music between 50 and 80 beats per minute
Some research suggests that it’s not the type of music that’s important in helping you stay focused and productive, but the tempo of that music. Studies have found that music with 50 to 80 beats per minute can enhance and stimulate creativity and learning. Dr. Emma Gray, a cognitive behavioral therapist, worked with Spotify to research the benefits of certain types of music. She found that listening to music set in the 50- to 80-beat range puts the brain into an alpha state. When we’re awake, we’re typically in a state of mind known as beta, a heightened state of alertness where our brain-wave activity is between 14 and 30 HZ. When our brain slows to between 7 and 14 HZ, we’re in a more relaxed alpha state of mind that allows us to be more receptive and open, and less critical. This state of mind is what scientists associate with activities that involve our imagination, memory and intuition.
4. Your favorite music
If you have to work on something that you're not really excited about, put on some music you enjoy. Studies have found that putting on your favorite type of music can improve your mood and productivity. Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, found that personal choice in music is important when deciding what to listen to while working. Her research found that participants who listened to music they enjoyed completed their tasks faster and came up with better ideas than those who didn't because the music helped them feel better and improved their mood.
This week I wanted to discuss the benefits of sound during a massage. Music can be very beneficial when you are trying to get some relaxation during your massage session. Not only will it help put you in the right frame of mind in order to relax, but playing soft music also releases mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. I've outlined some of the benefits below:
Playing music will alleviate your pain during a session, as research has shown that it has the ability to decrease its intensity.
Improving your sleep
Constant joint and muscle pain may be preventing you from getting the sleep you want at home. If you suffer from sleepless nights, music during a session will help promote your ability to rest and potentially doze off.
Improving your blood flow
Massage helps improve the circulation of blood in the body, and listening to music does the same. Therefore, you can combine these two to enhance the flow of blood.
Induce a meditative state
Slow music can change the speed of the brainwaves, similar to what happens when people are in a hypnotic or meditative state. Putting on slow music will speed up that process.
Another element to consider when getting a massage is aromatherapy, which many of you are already familiar with. It is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It is sometimes referred to as essential oil therapy. Some scents are used to help clear your mind, while others will help you to feel energized. The scents can be used in a variety of ways such as being incorporated into the oils used for the massage or diffused throughout the room. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
The calming benefits of the right music and scents will allow you to relax and receive the most benefits out of your session.
Since the beginning of time, indigenous societies have traditionally used sound during healing ceremonies, including hand-clapping, singing, drumming, chanting, and pulsating. Different sounds elicit different emotional responses from people and can also change their mental and physical state. For example, a recent brain-imaging study found that spine-tingling music "lights up" the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food, sex, and certain types of drugs.
This month we'll go over how sound, especially used during a massage session or in the workplace, can bring you into complete ethereal bliss or bringing you back to focus. Sound therapy has been known to help treat such conditions as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, sleep disorders, pain, and autism. It also has a way of moving through blockages in the body. The techniques vary but all involve the application of sound waves and harmonic vibrations to the body through the use of instruments, including the use of human voice. Now start to imagine receiving a gentle bath of sounds allowing your body to let go and move into a deeper state of relaxation....
Recently, I had a few clients share their joy and pain of having a social summer. The outside barbeques, laps around the lake, and birthday celebrations, in addition to the daily anxieties of life and F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out)! Fall is usually my time for a social detox and reset. Here are my three suggestions for you this week to reset and recharge:
1. It's always OK to say NO any time of the year.
I used to say yes all the time because I felt I had to take every opportunity that came my way (scarcity mentality.) But let's be honest: saying yes to everyone, and everything, is stressful! It's definitely not good for your mental, physical and spiritual health! Your happiness will be made up of the choices that you make and if you’re not thrilled about something, or have noticed you're consistently over-committing yourself with no time to recharge yourself; just say no.
2. Say what you need out loud to yourself and honor it.
It’s possible to feel a lot of things all at once. (Hey, we're only human!) It’s impossible, however, to decipher why we feel these things and where these emotions come from, or at least it feels that way. This is why expressing and sharing them can help us figure them out. When you say how you feel, you're acknowledging their existence and recognizing that they are residing within you. You’re allowing yourself to process the emotions, hear them back, and then organize your mind.
3. Say yes to solo time and that includes vacations too.
Even the most sociable people need some alone time every now and then. Of course, surrounding yourself with people who uplift you is great and essential. There are also many benefits to enjoying some time with yourself. Balancing friends, a job, family, and obligations is a challenge and takes a lot of energy. No one can be “on” at all times. Give yourself your full attention at least once a day for 5-minutes to recharge, and make plans for solo vacation even if it's spending the weekend at a local hotel.
Virtual reality is part of our new reality. If you weren't as comfortable with using technology or even connected to the internet before, I'm sure Covid has definitely changed that. As we spend more time indoors moving into fall and possibly even more time with technology, here are a few tips to help you adjust and stay well.
1. Personal Workspace
Wether you're working from home, the office, or have a hybrid work schedule, it's time to get serious about updating your workstation. Make sure you have an ergonomic chair because if you're sitting for a long period of time in one position that’s not natural, or a bad position from a postural standpoint, over time that’s going to break down your spine. A good office chair is going to help you maintain a neutral posture, which means sitting with your feet flat on the floor, your knees slightly higher than your hips, and your hips, shoulders, and ears all lined up with each other. Another important furniture piece to invest in is a sit-stand table, which can help offset and prevent a sedentary lifestyle (aka sitting disease).
2. Utilizing Apps as Reminders
With more than 8.9 million mobile apps out there to choose from for dating, gaming, entertainment and more, there are a few worth downloading to simply remind you to take a break, stretch, or go for a walk! For your computer (Mac and Windows) there is Stretchly, an app that reminds you to take breaks when working on your computer. A small popup will let you know before it's time to take a break, and then remind you when it's time. For your phone, there is Unhook (Android only) which not only reminds you to take a break, but forces it upon you! You set a daily time limit for different types of screen usage, such as social apps, video streaming, and games. Once you cross the limit you set, Unhook makes you walk to unlock more time. For every 100 steps that you walk, you will get 10 minutes of extra usage time on the phone.
3. Take Breaks From Technology
While working remotely has it's pros and cons, I often hear from clients that it's hard to breakaway from their work because they find themselves spending too much time online, or with their phone, to produce deliverables as well as staying in touch with their colleagues or clients. On average we spend about 8.6 hours per day interacting with technology (if you own an iPhone you probably receive weekly screen time stats and it might be more!) Try taking baby steps by putting your phone/computer away when you're having a meal, setting boundaries by not checking your email/text when it's outside of "office hours", or putting away your phone or laptop at least an hour or two before bedtime.
The old me struggled to accomplish everything I needed to get done in a day. There were days when it felt like my work was taking over and the work-life balance I dreamt of was out of reach. As we transition to a slower pace for fall, it's important to remember to add the following habits into your day during the week to ensure you're maximizing each day. With these tips, you can regain control, get more done with less stress, and find some time for the things you love!
1. Stop multitasking.
Yes, you read that right. Most of us have had to learn how to multitask on the job: googling four things at once, answering an email while you're on the phone, and writing a report while also trying to catch up on news topics. We've all been there and if I have to be sincerely honest, it's exhausting! But here's why you should stop multitasking: it's stressful! Every time you switch between tasks you pay a "switching cost": after a distraction, it takes approximately 25 minutes before you are 100% fully focused again. When you multitask, you are 40% less productive than when you single-task. So switching tasks constantly, you ultimately get less work done which causes you to experience more work pressure and stress.
2. Take mini-breaks.
I've been guilty of not doing this and I also know many people who are used to working indefinitely without taking a break. The justification I often hear is that they have a heavy workload, a strict deadline, a long-term sick colleague, or an urgent request from a hugely important client. But to stay sharp and focused, it is essential to take mini-breaks despite all those urgent matters. When you take mini-breaks throughout your day it helps you improve focus, concentration and provides the opportunity for mental and physical rest. After a break, work can resume with more energy and motivation.
3. Do something for yourself each day.
The idea of making time for self-care can be daunting. Most of us feel like we don’t have enough time, or there is just too much to do; it almost feels selfish to make time for ourselves. The truth is, the more we can find balance and take care of ourselves, the more we can give to others and the less likely it is that we will burn out! It can be the simplest of things like going out for a 15-minute walk, meditating, calling a friend to catch up, or giving yourself a self-massage.
It's finally September! Virgo season, my birthday is on September 13th, and it's a time for transition. Time for swapping our tank tops and shorts for sweaters and sweatpants, changing our orders from ice coffee to pumpkin spice lattes, and yes, this pretty much applies to everything else we do, including what time we go to bed. Many of my regular clients know that each season we must transition into the next phase of care for their wellness treatments. As part of this transition, we discuss what changes are happening in their lives and what they endure mentally, physically, and emotionally (don't forget seasonal depression is a thing, y'all!)
So enjoy the last few days of what's left of summer and start preparing to shift to a slower pace for fall. Speaking of, have you booked your massage appointments for fall yet? If not, here are a few reasons WHY you need to book a massage STAT!
1. You're more active during the summer.
Because the sun's out, you're most likely participating in summer sports and activities like running, swimming, hiking, kayaking, and doing more walking. Even though regular exercise is good for your health and helps keep you flexible, it can also lead to dehydration and improper positioning. After a season of participating in summer activities, it’s important to help your body recover before temperatures drop and joint pain can increase.
2. Summer footwear has been your go-to.
Summer is the perfect time for flip-flops, Birkenstocks, and other open-toe shoes or clogs, but too often we’re walking for long periods of time without the proper support. Summer footwear often allows for unfavorable ergonomics and can result in back pain and poor posture.
3. You might suffer from seasonal depression.
Remember what I said, seasonal depression is a thing! We, Seattlites, should know better than anyone else! The summer sun can help those with seasonal depression, but there may be anxiety about the upcoming change to winter. If you suffer from seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), regular massage can help.
4. You haven't been getting enough sleep.
With longer days comes shorter nights. Many people find it difficult to get their recommended 8-9 hours of sleep each and every night in the summer. Massage is proven to improve sleep and increase serotonin levels according to studies on backpains.
Before you know it summer will come to an end and fall will be here (September 22 to be exact). Saying goodbye to warmer weather, longer days, and time spent outdoors is never easy, but the last few weeks before fall officially starts can be fruitful. It can be a time to reset, take stock of your life, set new goals, and of course, get organized for the new season ahead. Below I've outlined some ways to help you transition more smoothly from the summer season into fall, including a few activities to help give summer a proper send-off.
1. Recap your best summertime memories in a journal.
By writing down what you're grateful for on a daily basis will help train your mind to focus on the positive. If you already do this, put a new spin on it by writing about your favorite memories from summer. Journaling about positive memories can evoke a state of mindfulness as you close the chapter on summer and focus on the present.
2. Organize and pack away your summer gear.
Set aside time to wash and purge this season’s supplies. Wash all summer clothing and determine what you want to hold on to for another season and what can be donated, or given to younger relatives as hand-me-downs. This also applies to outdoor supplies like tents, tablecloths, grilling supplies, pool toys, and other items you collected over the summer. Box everything up and store them for next year.
3. Find your new flow.
Our routines change with the seasons, especially when it comes to sleep. (How many of you struggle to get up when it's dark and cold outside?) For people with children, fall is when kids go back to school again and join extracurricular activities. For others, it may be a time to focus on work, whether it’s at an office or starting new projects around the house. As you set your new routine, consider your responsibilities, health, and wellness as well as your favorite leisure activities. Make a list of what is important to you. Your list might include exercise, sleep, eating right, setting new goals, scheduling some downtime, organizing activities, making time for fun, or starting a new hobby.
4. Take some downtime!
Society has taught us to be intently focused on the frenzy of doing, accomplishing, and acquiring, thus we spend the majority of our day outwardly focused. If we don't balance our lives with some downtime we end up feeling burnt out and exhausted. Many people think of downtime as watching television, running errands, or scrolling through social media. It can also mean doing no mental work and just letting the mind and body simply be such as taking a hot bath, meditating, or cozying up to a good book.
Transitioning gracefully from summer into a fall routine can be fun, but a smooth transition comes down to identifying how you want to spend your time and creating healthy new habits for the next six months. Remember to design your routine with balance in mind and you’ll set yourself up for success as you transition.
It often feels like achieving flawless, glowing skin is out of reach without having to put an hour (or two) into your everyday skincare routine. But forming healthy skin-care habits and routines early on will help you at any age, and it's never too late to start. Below I've highlighted a few skincare tips.
1. Use the correct cleanser for your skin type.
What might have worked for you in your teenage years, or even your 20's, might not work for you in your 30's and beyond. When I was younger my skin was dry and dull which required me to use products that contained hyaluronic acid to encourage hydration but now I am addressing areas of hyperpigmentation due to old acne scars. Currently, I use products that contain Vitamin C to correct discoloration and improve my skin's texture. Make sure you're choosing products that suit your current skin type.
2. Moisturize both day and night.
If you're going to follow only one of my tips, make sure it's this! Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize your skin day and night to avoid your skin feeling dry and parched. Dry skin will only cause fine lines and wrinkles so make sure you moisturize after cleansing your skin to lock in the moisture.
3. Hydrate inside and out.
This goes in hand with moisturizing your face. I don't want to sound like a broken record but make sure you're drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. A lack of hydration means less radiance!
4. Exfoliate a couple of times per week.
We lose about 50 million skin cells a day and our skin is constantly shedding whether we see it or not. Sometimes you'll notice your skin is looking dull and it just needs a little extra nudge. Choose an exfoliator that is pH neutral so it doesn't dry as it exfoliates. This applies to your body as well.
5. Changing out pillowcases and bedsheets.
Lastly, this is often overlooked! We often sweat a lot and our skin sheds during our sleep so it's important to change out your bedsheets and pillowcases as often as possible, ideally once a week.